What’s Radical About Weblog Journalism?

Are bloggers journalists? Should journalists blog? Is blogging too far out on the fringe of public communications to be considered within the fold of proper journalism? Recently there’s been some intriguing discussion on various media blogs concerning the overlapping roles of blogging and journalism.

I’ve been fascinated by this conversation and will be writing more on this topic later, but for now I’d like to point you to some of the highlights…

One of the most thought-provoking recent contributions to this discussion comes from NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen, who listed in his PressThink blog on Oct. 16, 2003 “Ten Things Radical About the Weblog Form in Journalism.” Two items on this list particularly caught my interest. Rosen writes:

  • “The weblog comes out of the gift economy, whereas most (not all) of today’s journalism comes out of the market economy.”

  • “Whereas an item of news in a newspaper or broadcast seeks to add itself to the public record, an entry posted in a weblog engages the public record, because it pulls bits and pieces from it through the device of linking. In journalism the regular way, we imagine the public record accumulating with each day’s news– becoming longer. In journalism the weblog way, we imagine the public record ‘tightening,’ its web becoming stronger, as links promotes linking, which produces more links.”

To this, on Oct. 16, 2003, the HyperGene Media Blog (which focuses on participatory journalism) added its list of “Five More Radical Things About the Weblog Form in Journalism.” Here, they remind news organizations: “By increasing the number of connections – though weblogs, forums, XML syndication and collaborative publishing engines – the strength of a media company’s node is enhanced.”

…A great way to follow and participate in this intriguing discussion is to plug the URL for Rosen’s weblog entry, (http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2003/10/16/radical_ten.html) into the “Get Link Cosmos” field on the home page of Technorati. That will yield a list of links to other weblog entries that link to the Rosen piece.

More on this later…